First Swim Meet
Going to your first swim meet is a little scary for both the swimmer and the parent. You have a lot of questions. What should I bring? Where do I go? What do I do when I get there?
It may be stating the obvious, but be sure your child has his or her swimsuit! You should also bring two pairs of goggles, two caps, and two towels. Our swimmers should wear the team shirt. You are going to want to bring something warm for them to put on between events especially during the cooler months. This should all be packed in a backpack. Bring a chair to sit on and snacks and drinks in a small cooler. Bring nutritious food like granola bars and bananas. Leave in plenty of time - you want to arrive at least 15-20 minutes before scheduled warmups so you do not feel rushed. The good news is that if you forget anything and have a credit card you are in business as a swim team vendor is at almost every meet.
Once you get to the pool, pay your entry fee and look for some familiar faces. Most of our parents will sit together to cheer. Join them - it’s more fun and if you’re at one of your first meets, a “swim mom” can help you. Many of our meets now have a closed deck. That means that swimmers and parents are in different parts of the swim deck. This is for the safety of the children. Your child can always come to see you but you can not go into the restricted area. Have your child check in with the coach, bring their chair over and sit with their teammates under the tent.
Now you may want to get a heat sheet. This is a listing of events, heats and lanes. Basically, it tells you when and where your swimmer will be swimming and against whom. Most parents write on the swimmers arm with a Sharpie in a little table like this:
E-H-L (Event, Heat, Lane)
4-3-2 50 Fly
5-4-3 50 Back
6-5-4 100 IM
This swimmer is in Event #4, Heat 3, Lane 2 (the 50 Fly), Event #5, Heat 4, Lane 3 (50 Back) and Event #6, Heat 5, Lane 4 (100 IM).
Once the meet begins, the swimmer will need to begin to pay attention to when they will swim. However the coaches will be helping the swimmers by letting everyone under the tent know what event is on deck. There is generally a timeline that is sent out a day or two before the meet. This timeline should be used as a guideline as to when they will swim.
When an event your swimmer is participating in is getting ready to start, and if they are with you send them away with a hug and “good luck.” Get your swimmer over to the blocks with time to spare.
Now - watch them go! Take pictures - but don’t use a flash or take pictures from behind the blocks. Times are listed on the scoreboard and will be posted somewhere around the pool area or you can look on Meet Mobile.
When your swimmer is done, it may be a bit before you can see them. They need to get out of the pool and report to the coach. The coach will talk to your child about their swim - what was good, what they might want to change. If something was done incorrectly, the swimmer may get a DQ (disqualification). The referee who saw the problem (wrong turn, kick, etc.) will talk to the child about it, as will the coach. A DQ is nothing to worry about. The swimmer will be sent to warm down. Then after all that, they’ll can come to see you between events. You can give your swimmer a snack and a drink. They should keep warm between events by putting on the team shirt, sweatshirt, pants, parka - whatever they feel comfortable in. Sometimes, it’s a wait between swims, so you may want to have something for them to do. However the best thing to do is cheer for their teammates and hang out with their friends.
This information is just to help you get through that first day. After a few meets you will be a pro and helping others. Remember - we’ve all been there. Many parents will wear Flood Aquatics shirts to meets. If you have a question, look for that shirt and ask. We are happy you are part of Flood Aquatics!!